by The Real Dirt | Sep 23, 2021 | 420 News, Blog, Business, Cannabis Business, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Industry News, Legalization, Politics
The U.S. House of Representatives late Tuesday night approved a bill that would let banks to do business with cannabis companies without fear of penalty, giving traction to the least-disputed reform sought by the growing industry.
The so-called SAFE Banking Act would be a boon for marijuana companies, which have so-far been stymied by the necessity to deal in cash because of federal restrictions. That has meant they have extra security costs and logistical problems, even as marijuana increasingly becomes legal. Some three dozen states now allow medical or recreational use, according to New Frontier Data, a cannabis research firm.
The measure, which has been passed by the House before with bipartisan support, was this time approved by voice vote as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Representative Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat, who had re-introduced the bill, has said that allowing cannabis businesses to access the banking system would bring more money into the economy and offer the opportunity to create good-paying jobs. The American cannabis industry had $20.3 billion in legal sales in 2020, according New Frontier Data.
The bill’s prospects are unclear in the Senate.
Yet it’s still a far cry from the wish-list of legal reforms that the industry seeks, including all-out legalization, and relief from tax burdens.
The U.S. Cannabis Council, a trade group that represents companies in the industry, called the current rules that require marijuana firms to be all-cash a security hazard.
“Over $17 billion in legal cannabis was sold in the United States last year, overwhelmingly through cash transactions. Forcing legitimate, well-regulated cannabis businesses to conduct most of their business in cash is anachronistic and a clear threat to public safety,” the council’s chief executive Steven Hawkins said in a statement before the bill passed.
BTIG analyst Camilo Lyon said in a research note this week that the SAFE Act’s inclusion with the defense authorization might enhance its prospects.
“Discussions with our D.C. contacts suggest it has an easier pathway of getting through the Senate, largely because no senator wants to be viewed as holding up the massive 1,700 page must-pass NDAA simply because of SAFE banking,” Lyon wrote.
by The Real Dirt | May 7, 2021 | 420 Culture & Travel, 420 News, Blog, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Legalization, Stranger Than Fiction
Your illegal weed dealer might be adding menthol cigarettes and smuggled Backwoods and Swisher Sweets to their offerings next year.
On Thursday, April 29, the Food and Drug Administration announced plans to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes and all flavored cigars, starting in 2022. The FDA’s proposal responds to a lawsuit from the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council calling for the national ban, which would target makers and sellers, not users, of menthols and flavored cigars.
Tobacco companies will likely challenge the decision in court, according to Stat News.
But such a ban would affect many cannabis consumers—primarily Black smokers—who roll marijuana into flavored tobacco or cigar leaves, commonly called a blunt. Half of cigar sales in 2020 were two flavored brands: Black and Mild, followed by Swisher Sweets.
A 2020 study found that a third of weed consumers smoke blunts, while almost two-thirds of Black weed consumers smoke blunts. A separate study of blunt wrap brand Backwoods-tagged content on Instagram found that half of #backwoods posts were marijuana-related.
FDA confronts a health inequity
The FDA wants to reduce tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable death in the US. The agency stated that banning menthols and flavored cigars would reduce the number of kids who start smoking, and encourage menthol smokers to quit.
The FDA also said it specifically wants to reduce the number of Black Americans dying from tobacco. Three-quarters of Black smokers smoke menthols.
“Banning menthol—the last allowable flavor—in cigarettes and banning all flavors in cigars will help save lives, particularly among those disproportionately affected by these deadly products,” acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement.
Banning menthols may cause 923,000 US smokers to quit, including 230,000 Black Americans in the first 13 to 17 months after a ban goes into effect. An earlier study claims the ban would prevent 633,000 deaths, including about 237,000 deaths averted for African Americans.
To do that, massive tobacco companies and distributors would face punishment for making, distributing, and selling menthols and flavored tobacco no earlier than next year.